Oh But Who Will Marry Me If….?

Opinion

There are, in fact, many things true under the sun. One of them is this : the ultimate goal of the average Nigerian woman, and please note that I use the word “average”- a word meant to include everyone and everything though not always successful, in my opinion. Still, maybe I should say, more often than not, the ultimate goal of the average Nigerian woman, consciously or unconsciously, is marriage.

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There is one thing true under the sun. Okay, that’s a lie. There are, in fact, many things true under the sun. One of them is this: the ultimate life goal of the average Nigerian woman, and please note that I use the word “average”- a word meant to include everyone and everything though not always successfully, in my opinion. Still, maybe I should say, more often than not, the ultimate life goal of the average Nigerian woman, consciously or unconsciously, is marriage.

Before you shoot me, or more unfortunately, your phone screen, read the next few lines.

I’ve found that most Nigerian women will deliberately or not deliberately not do certain things if they think that those things make them less “marry-able”. I’ll give you a personal example. So recently, I was thinking about some of the feats performed by women that have earned them places in the Guinness Book of Records- longest hair, longest nails and most recently, longest lashes. So as usual, I didn’t see the point of all these things that I consider hugely uncomfortable, and I thought to myself that even if I wanted to be involved in anything like that, maybe it would be for height (if I had the right genes). But then unconsciously, I thought aloud, “oh, but who will marry me if I’m too tall?” That was when it occurred to me that this is probably how a lot of Nigerian women really feel, whether or not they admit it to you, or themselves.

These women keep themselves, some times without meaning too, from doing certain things or achieving certain goals or fulfilling certain dreams, because they have been taught not to intimidate or scare away their prospective husbands. And so they set a limit for themselves, with their own hands they erect a barrier they never cross, even if the thought may often cross their mind. They tell themselves just how high they can go without overshadowing their husbands. A little high here, not so high there, you see, they’re good at this. So what happens is they build up a “perfect” man, sometimes from scratch, sometimes halfway, a man complete in every sense of whatever the word means to them. They live under the shadow of this shining light of a man, and so you can’t tell that they are dissatisfied with their own lives, disgruntled, eternally wishing for the “more” that they pushed away thinking that their husband’s lives can make up for the lack of their own -“He’s successful enough for two of us.” But it never works. They do it all the time, may even teach it to their children, but it never works. Oh, and guess what? You will not wake up one fine morning and this way of thinking suddenly starts working.

And you know another wonderful thing? It’s always “Who will marry me?”, not “Who will I marry?” These women have so conditioned themselves into being a choice that someone else has to make. As far as they know, they don’t have a right, oh who the hell are they to be the one who gets to make the choice, how dare they be selective? So he may want them, he may not want them, but the idea is for him to want them. They build their entire lives around something as flimsy and as unpredictable as a choice. This is their mindset, now tell you what, you can change opinions or perspective, but its almost impossible to change a mindset, it’s called a MINDSET for a reason. So these women may clap the longest for Chimamanda at TED talks. They may sing even louder than Beyonce when Flawless comes up on their TV screens, but you still can’t change their mindset. No, not that easily. They say Rome wasn’t built in a day, well these women weren’t born in a month, a year, or even a generation for that matter. What is the way forward? How do we help our fellow women? Please share your thoughts in the comment section.

Responses

  1. Anie
    Amazing write up!, i mean i have attended a lot of women empowerment events and all (i’m probably one of those that claps the most sef!). But, there is usually this unsaid thought in my head that even though what is usually discussed at these events are cool and all this i’d still like to marry at 24 or 25 so i really can’t do some things because what would my prospective husband think and all.
    Big Sigh!
  2. Bolu-Tife
    I know right. And sometimes we could even be the ones condemning people that think/act like that, when deep down, we all really want the same thing. Very big sigh!
  3. CeeCee
    Very well said. I believe we just need to find ourselves. We should try not to fall victim of peer/society pressure, opinions and values that were there before we even came along that just doesn’t make any sense. We all know the different b/w right and wrong, except a bunch of crazy ones who certainly can’t tell the difference. Marriage is not an achievement.
    Like Mandy Hale said, “You’ll learn, as you get older, that rules are made to be broken. Be bold enough to live life on your terms, and never, ever apologize for it. Go against the grain, refuse to conform, take the road less traveled instead of the well-beaten path. Laugh in the face of adversity, and at times leap before you look, do not overthink it. Dance as though EVERYBODY is watching. March to the beat of your own drummer. And stubbornly refuse to fit in.”
  4. Chioma
    I consider myself a feminist, but I also consider marriage extremely important for myself. Very very important to put it mildly. Does this make me any less a feminist? It is my choice to want to really get married, and I don’t think that means I need to be saved or helped, or my mindset changed. In my pursuit of happiness, I want to be somebody’s African wife. It is my choice and yes it will be an achievement for me to marry a man I love and can respect. Why do I need to change my mindset?
    1. Bolu-Tife
      I’m not condemning marriage, at all. In fact, I’m very pro-marriage, I mean, I want to get married someday too. An d yes it is possible to be a married feminist- Chimamanda and Beyonce are married after all. What I’m against is women reducing who they are or becoming less of themselves because they think marriage is the thing to aspire to, the ultimate dream, as though life is incomplete without it. You may call it compromise, and say that it is absolutely necessary for any marriage to be successful, but there is a pretty fat line between compromise and total falsification of self. But I still get what you’re saying and I appreciate the comment. Thank you Chioma.
  5. Wizzlyn
    For some people marriage is a very important part of their life – bigger than personal achievement. Some people would rather have a beautiful home than a successful career. It’s all about choice and what makes you happy. Sometimes, people get to the peak of their career and realized there was really nothing there – not necessarily because there wasn’t but because, familial relationship was more important to them but they never had it.
    Career or marriage – whatever makes you happy, please pursue!

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